Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

June 28, 2013
Prop. 8 backers slam 'outrageous' decision to lift stay

RA_AD5_ANDY_ANDREW_PUGNO.JPGA federal appeals court continued a "chronic pattern of lawlessness" by lifting a stay on a lower court decision striking down a voter-approved prohibition of same-sex marriage, supporters of the ban said Friday.

Same-sex marriage proponents celebrated on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed a challenge to U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's 2010 ruling invalidating Proposition 8, a ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage in California. Proposition 8 proponents reacted to the ruling differently -- in a statement,'s general counsel Andy Pugno vowed to continue seeking enforcement of the law.

That's less of an option now that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has lifted its stay.

"This outrageous act tops off a chronic pattern of lawlessness, throughout this case, by judges and politicians hell-bent on thwarting the vote of the people to redefine marriage by any means, even outright corruption," Pugno said in a statement.

"Homosexual marriage is not happening because the people changed their mind. It isn't happening because the appellate courts declared a new constitutional right. It's happening because enemies of the people have abused their power to manipulate the system and render the people voiceless."

"The resumption of same-sex marriage this day has been obtained by illegitimate means. If our opponents rejoice in achieving their goal in a dishonorable fashion, they should be ashamed."

PHOTO: Andy Pugno, in 2012. Photo by Randy Allen

June 28, 2013
San Francisco appeals court lifts stay on same-sex marriage

BN4b7LSCQAAuZ6H.jpgAnother barrier to same-sex marriage in California crumbled Friday afternoon, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco lifting its stay on same-sex marriages.

The move comes two days after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a 2010 ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. By ruling that the Proposition 8 backers appealing Walker's decision had no standing, the Supreme Court paved the way for gay marriages to resume in California.

Still in place was a hold on same-sex marriages the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had imposed while the case made its way through court. The appeals court said earlier this week it would wait at least 25 days before enforcing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, but Friday's news changes that.

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Gov. Jerry Brown reacted by directing the California Department of Public Health to notify county clerks and registrar/recorders that they should immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to a statement from the governor's office.

"On my way to S.F. City Hall. Let the wedding bells ring!" Attorney General Kamala Harris said on Twitter. In a subsequent message, Harris said she was presiding over the wedding of Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier, who were plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Proposition 8.

"I am thrilled that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay to allow same-sex couples to legally marry in California," Harris said in a statement. "Gay and lesbian couples have waited so long for this day and for their fundamental right to marry. Finally, their loving relationships are as legitimate and legal as any other."

The first couple to show up at the Sacramento County Clerk's office Friday were Sacramentans Nicola Simmersbach and Diana Luiz, who have been together 7 years.

"I didn't think this would happen today," Simmersbach said. "This isn't really what we planned on wearing but we're here."

"We've been fighting on the Capitol steps for this moment," Luis said.

Jeffrey Dastin contributed to this post.

PHOTO: A photo posted to Twitter shows California Attorney General Kamala Harris with the plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case, Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier.

June 28, 2013
Finance chief Ana Matosantos leaving Brown administration


Some job shuffle news on a Friday afternoon: Ana Matosantos, the Department of Finance director whom Gov. Jerry Brown retained from the Schwarzenegger administration, is leaving.

The governor's office announced that Matosantos will be stepping down in September. Her deputy, Michael Cohen, will fill the vacancy.

"During very tough economic times, Ana carried out her duties as finance director with insight, boundless energy and uncommon effectiveness," Brown said in a statement. "Michael has been an excellent chief deputy director and I'm confident that he's fully up to the task of leading the department in the years ahead."

Matosantos' tenure has spanned some fiscally turbulent years, but she is stepping down after relatively smooth budget negotiations that accompanied an influx of new revenue this year. She referenced California's recently established fiscal stability in a statement accompanying her departure.

"It has been a privilege to serve the people of California during very difficult fiscal times, and now the state's economy is recovering and its budget balanced," Matosantos said in the statement.

It's unclear what her next move will be. H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, said Matosantos had been planning to depart but hasn't talked with potential future employers.

Palmer added that the decision to leave the grind of heading the finance department isn't surprising.

"Being the director of finance and overseeing the largest state budget in the country is a tough job on its own," Palmer said, "but being the finance director in the greatest recession since the great depression makes that job exponentially more challenging."

PHOTO: Finance Director Ana Matosantos talks about Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal in Sacramento on Monday, May 14, 2012. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.

June 28, 2013
AM Alert: Is prison realignment working in California?

CARealignment.jpgThere has been ample news lately about California's ongoing push to slim its prison population. That has included the legal tug-of-war between the federal courts and Gov. Jerry Brown, which most recently yielded a court order demanding that California immediately prepare to release more inmates, not to mention legislative pushback. It also looks likely to be a key issue in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, assuming a matchup between the Democratic governor and Republican Abel Maldonado.

A Public Policy Institute of California event today will try to cut through the noise and look at the concrete consequences of realignment, from county jails to public safety. Listed speakers include Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley; Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson; California State Association of Counties executive director Matthew Cate; and Linda Penner, chief probation officer for the Fresno County Probation Department. At the CSAC conference center, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

VIDEO: It was a busy day at the state Capitol Thursday, but Dan Walters says California's attention should be trained on Washington.

June 28, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California eyes Washington on immigration

California has the most at stake in the debate in Washington over immigration, Dan says, now that the U.S. Senate has passed an immigration overhaul bill.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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